Wildlife Ecology
Photo: Scott Nielsen
Plains bison (Bison bison bison grazing in Elk Island National Park
Wildlife Ecology
Animals in their Environments

Our wildlife ecology research is aimed at understanding and tackling species-specific conservation issues.

One species – grizzly (brown) bears – has been a key study organism in the lab for 15+ years. Recent work on grizzlies emphasize the integration of both bottom-up limitations (food supply) and top-down regulation (human-caused mortality) to better understand the species for improving management of small, threatened populations. This involves integration of remote sensing, nutritional landscape modeling (spatial-temporal patterns in food supply), habitat selection, bioenergetics, individual animal performance (body size, reproduction & survival) and population processes.

We also work with other species, often flagship conservation icons, such as wood bison, cougar and greater short-horned lizards. Habitat selection (resource selection functions) has been a significant emphasis of our prior work from methods and their applications to more emphasis now on their relationships to individual animal performance (e.g. body size, growth) and population measures. As with most folks working with apex predators, we are also interested in trophic interactions among species, particularly around losses of apex predators and what the implications of their loss is to biodiversity (i.e., trophic cascades).